CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh Gordon can’t run a deep pass route into Canada and play.
The Cleveland Browns’ suspended star wide receiver wanted to play in the Canadian Football League during his indefinite suspension, but CFL rules prohibit him from doing so.
Gordon, whose season-long suspension by the NFL was upheld on Wednesday, asked the Browns for permission to play for the Calgary Stampeders, a person familiar with the Pro Bowler’s situation told The Associated Press on Thursday. However, a CFL rule that has been in place since 2006 bars any suspended NFL players under contract from playing.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.
CFL spokesman Jamie Dykstra said the only way Gordon could play in the league is if he was released by the Browns and became a free agent. Former Indianapolis wide receiver LaVon Brazill, serving a four-game NFL drug suspension, signed last week with Toronto after being cut by the Colts.
The CFL’s board of governors adopted the rule eight years ago after suspended running back Ricky Williams played one season for Toronto.
Gordon will miss the entire 2014 season after another violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse program. He appealed the yearlong punishment, but arbitrator Harold Henderson agreed with league’s initial ruling. The league said Gordon’s eligibility for reinstatement will be determined after the season.
The 23-year-old is not allowed to practice with the Browns or attend any meetings. He is only allowed in Cleveland’s headquarters during his banishment when he’s getting medical treatment.
Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 yards receiving last season despite being suspended for two games and playing with three quarterbacks.
Without him, the Browns, who host the Chicago Bears in their final exhibition on Thursday, are lacking a deep threat to keep defenses honest.